When students are away from home for the first time, a void sometimes opens that can only be filled with burgers, burritos, crepes and other comfort foods.
Murder Burger, Tommy J’s, Cindy’s, Sam’s — alumni have a wide range of favorite off-campus eateries and recalled dozens when asked on social media by UC Davis Magazine.
“Crepeville was my favorite place for a splurge night,” said Allison Eriksen ’08. “I do remember that it was also the first place we went off-campus freshman year.”
She recalled being unsure about walking back to the residence halls after dark, but was reassured by their large group.
“We managed to make it back to Tercero E (R.I.P.!) without incident on our first excursion into the city of Davis,” she said.
Crepeville continues to be a draw on Third Street, but other restaurants remembered by alumni have closed their doors.
Michael Gardella ’82 said Nation’s Giant Hamburgers in the University Mall on Russell Boulevard was his favorite off-campus eatery.
“Great place [for] a Sunday morning,” Gardella said. Nation’s and some other tenants of the mall were displaced when the shopping center was renovated in 1999.
Katie McMahon ’08 estimates that she ate at Hunan, a Chinese restaurant on D Street, once a week for all four years. She said she often saw friends and lacrosse teammates there, and ran into members of the football and baseball teams while taking a group of lacrosse recruits out to eat.
“I was recently visiting from the East Coast with my parents and we met some friends at Hunan,” McMahon said. “Almost a decade later, the food was still amazing and the staff was the same. It was nostalgic!”
Tomas J. Ross ’03 said he visited Hunan often because it’s only a block away from his fraternity, Theta Xi. “My friends and I still reminisce about the Hunan lunch special — it was epic,” he said.
For Sandra Duncan ’79, The Davis Graduate, aka The Grad, was an obvious choice for its Gradburgers and $2 pitchers of beer on Thursdays.
“In the mid-’70s there weren’t a lot of restaurant choices,” Duncan said. “The Grad was the go-to for a cheap meal. … I don’t know that I can recall a particular meal, just the feeling of knowing you could always find friends there.”